Monday, January 10, 2011

Jim Shella Links Tea Party Activists To Arizona Shooting

WISH-TV's political reporter stooped to the lowest common denominator on his blog this afternoon as he suggested some linkage between this weekend's tragic shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona to tea party activists. In this case, Shella implies insensitivity on the part of Indiana Tea Party activities related to their efforts to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in light of "talk of Tea Party responsibility in the Arizona shooting":

Any talk of Tea Party responsibility in the Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has apparently had no effect on Tea Party activity here.

Greg Fettig of the Indiana Party just sent out a news release confirming plans to hold a January 22nd meeting to identify a candidate who might unseat Republican Richard Lugar in the 2012 primary. The release makes no mention of outside events.
Whether you are a fan of Sen. Richard Lugar or think he should retire after six unprecedented terms how could any rational-thinking journalist suggest any connection between your political views towards Lugar and this weekend's shooting of a conservative Democratic member of Congress who voted against Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker, has been an outspoken advocate of the Second Amendment, had been declared by a liberal Daily Kos blogger as "dead to me" only last week and whose shooter has been described by friends as a mentally disturbed, pot-smoking leftist? Nobody has produced any evidence that 22-year-old Jared Loughner was a member of the Arizona Tea Party or opposed Rep. Giffords for the reason Tea Party activists there opposed her--largely based on her support of Obama's health care plan. Absolutely unbelievable. If WISH-TV's management had any decency, it would demand an immediate apology from Shella for his outrageous comments, but I'm guessing that won't happen based on his long track record of open antipathy towards citizen activists who oppose the status quo, establishment leadership.

UPDATE: In response to criticism of his blog comments, Shella is now saying he didn't mean what he meant to say. "I don’t think I made any of the judgements you assign to me," Shella writes. "I was reporting on the Tea Party reaction to others." Yeah, gotcha Jim.

UPDATE II: Jim Shella should actually conduct fact gathering like a professional reporter does instead of mouthing off his snarky comments about those for whom he holds disdain. The Fix's Chris Cillizza does some fact gathering and discovers Jared Loughner was registered as an Independent in Arizona. Cillizza writes:

Suspected Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner registered as an independent voter in Arizona in the fall of 2006, according to the Pima County Registrar of Voters.

Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as "inactive" on the state's voter roles -- meaning that he did not vote in November.

The political affiliations of Loughner, who is being charged by state and federal authorities with the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) as well as 19 other victims outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday, have become the subject of a white-hot partisan debate in recent days.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy -- a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.

Loughner's decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.


LA Sunset said...

I left this comment:

//Come on, Shella. Your implication that the TEA Party bears some responsibility in this tragic event shows you know very little about mental illness, which by all accounts so far is what drove this entire thing. It certainly shows you know NOTHING about the TEA Party, in general.

This does not appear to be any different than a stalking incident like the one that ended up killing Rebecca Shaeffer and John Lennon. Public figures are targets because they public figures. This public figure just happened to be a Congresswoman, who actually sided with many TEA Partiers on the border and gun rights. A sick person is a sick person.

Just so can say you know something, people with thought disorders ruminate and fixate on three different topics, primarily. Sex, Religion, and Politics. He had two out of three going for him, I’d say he’s just another sick man who acted out.

Don't know if it will do any good.

Paul K. Ogden said...

That was one of the most reprehsnible things that I've ever seen a journalist do. WISH-TV should fire the guy.

Nick said...

Jim Shella jumped the shark a long time ago. I guess he's getting his talking points from Daily Kos and the Pima Co. Sheriff.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Jim Shella, you are a limp-wristed, liberal, "sky is falling" bleeding-heart piece of shit.
Oh, I'm sorry, Jimmy, I didn't mean to make you cwy!

dcrutch said...

I go to Tea Party and political rallies because I think we're spending money and perceiving "rights" that our limited government doesn't have. A pre-2010 election Rasmussen poll (& others), confirm that at least half of America has the same values.

Jim Shella has a pattern of discounting, dismissing, smearing, and belittling voters rather than trying to discern what's bothering them.

Unless I've truly missed an earnest attempt by Shella to better his knowledge, I suggest you not denigrate the flickering concept of "journalism" by placing his name in the same article.

Downtown Indy said...

I cracked up tonight when the CBS news started off with 'crosshairs' in the bottom banner, just like the ones on Palin's website.

Do as I say, not as I do?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Shella pulled the same stunt Abdul pulls on his blog. Abdul will put two things side by side, clearly suggesting to readers that there's a connection between the two. Then when you call him on it, he claims he didn't make any connection between the two.

Shella and Abdul will never be accused of intellectual honesty.

Unknown said...

LA Sunset and AI:

It's not entirely clear what this man was thinking... his writing and run-ins with authority make him sound less than stable. Yet he was reported as being very lucid in his court appearance.

If your argument is that he's mentally ill, then trying to assign a political ideology to him (he was right, left, independent) doesn't matter.

What does matter is the tone and currency of the political discussion -- even to a nut case.

When the tone is harsh, personal, disrespectful and demeaning it makes it much easier for someone to take matters into their own hands.

When the currency of the discussion is conspiracies, oppression and evil rather than policies, that too makes it easier for someone who isn't balanced to do something.

And the truth is that there are a lot of people who aren't balanced. People who are under serious financial stress who had no history of mental illness can be receptive to finding someone to blame as well.

Look at some of the genocides in history... how did those happen?

Take a look at Concerned Taxpayer's comments... Calling Jim Shella a "limp-wristed, liberal, "sky is falling" bleeding-heart piece of shit." or previously expressing that "Everyone knows that the 4th Estate is nothing but the mouthpiece of the liberal leftists in this country."


Where did those ideas come from? How did Concerned Taxpayer come to believe that calling anyone a limp-wristed piece of shit was okay?

Look, there isn't ONE incident that has indicated the political discourse has become too disrespectful, there are many. You can't dismiss them all.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Uuhh, one of Loughner's former teachers has been all over the news telling about how he feared turning his back on him in class and how his classmates were concerned he was going to do something desperate. The sheriff who was so quick to blame talk radio and tea party activists for the shootings has admitted law enforcement knew he had been making threats in the past and was suffering from a mental defect. Perhaps the good sheriff's office could have done more to respond to the previous threats he had been making. Hopefully, additional reporting will shed more light on those threats he made in the past, against whom he made those threats and what steps law enforcement took or did not take in response to them.

M Theory said...

So this mentally deranged person WAS reported and the authorities did nothing pre-emptive?

Now they threaten our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights?

No wonder people in this country are becoming more angry with each passing day.

Unknown said...

HFFT: Unfortunately your attitude of "they had it coming" is all too common. I'm reading it on other remarks too.

It usually starts out "I don't think it's right to kill people, but... "

It was amazing how much it sounded like the irrational rantings of the terrorists: "We don't condone bombs, but when people don't follow Allah's law... what do you expect?"

I didn't realize your 1st or 2nd amendment rights had been threatened by this. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that six people are dead and more are injured.

ambassador said...

Given Mr. Shella's mindset, maybe we need to blog:

'Any talk of Shella's 'Indiana Week in Review's responsibility in the Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has apparently had noeffect on Indiana Week in Review's weekly programming.

Downtown Indy said...

I believe the guy is as sane as anyone. My guess he is the product of modern parenting. Never told 'no,' never taught respect, never learned how to be a useful member of society.

Gary R. Welsh said...

According to one of their neighbors, the parents seemed pretty clueless what their son had become, even after he erected a shrine with a skull in their backyard. Everyone else seemed scared to death of the guy.

Marycatherine Barton said...

In fact, it is quite likely that this death-worshipping Loughner's shooting of the congresswoman, and those there for her, while she was acting in her capacity as their elected representative, is another tragic example of the war on women in America.

M Theory said...

James? My attitude is not that they had it coming. Not sure where you got that from.

Violence solves nothing. Limiting and censoring speech does nothing either. Neither does gun control.

My point is that the sheriff knew about that kid, people said something. The sheriff did nothing. And then after the murders, the sheriff tries to blame it on conservative speech including Palin's "cross hairs" remarks.

Maybe having a government that we could trust would go a long way toward preventing mental meltdowns of our youth.